Continuous investment

08 May 2008

Ports and harbours around the world continue to invest in new craneage to help cope with rising levels of marine cargo. A report by port handling equipment manufacturer Kalmar highlights problems faced in 2004 when increased levels of shipping and the temporary closure in November of the Suez Canal resulted in huge delays and a wait in line of several days for some vessels in ports around the world. The effects of this delay were far reaching, including a shortage of Sony's popular PS2 Playstation video game console in the peak Christmas season in some European countries. The booming DVD industry has also experienced supply problems, as players, mainly manufactured in the Far East, wait to be shipped around the world.

Orders

While ports cannot prevent the incident that closed the Suez Canal (a grounded tanker), they can work to ensure that cargo vessels are processed as quickly as possible. Ports are investing in newer, more efficient cranes and, in some cases, extended quays with additional cranes.

As war-torn Iraq rebuilds, the Port of Umm Qassar has invested money from the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in two new Liebherr LHM 400 mobile harbour cranes. The Iraqi Ports Authority (IPA) and Liebherr worked closely on the delivery plan, which was complicated by the hostile atmosphere in the region. The cranes were put straight to work and unloaded 17 vessels before the official handover ceremony.

In Greece the Port of Kavala's first Gottwald 100 tonne capacity HMK 300 E mobile harbour crane was delivered in March this year. After the Port of Thessaloniki, the Port of Kavala, across from the island of Thasos, is Northern Greece's largest port.

Rising volumes at the Port of Kavala's multipurpose terminal - handling container, marble and bulk - demanded modern cargo handling equipment. A spokesman for the port authority said, “The HMK 300 E from Gottwald was the best choice. Looking for a flexible and, above all, reliable and proven crane, we were very impressed when we learnt that Gottwald had already sold some 80 HMK 300 E mobile harbour cranes. We are confident that we have chosen a tried-and-tested crane design and the HMK 300 E will significantly help us to improve our shipping services and make the Port of Kavala an attractive port for a large number of carrier lines.”

Joannis Stogiannidis, Gottwald representative in Greece, said, “This order is all the more pleasing for Gottwald given the strong competition in the Greek market. Our long-standing efforts to convince Greek port operators of the benefits of mobile harbour cranes are again rewarded.” The total number of Gottwald cranes sold in Greece is eight, including one used crane.

The Associated British Ports Authority has ordered two new Liebherr RTGs for the Connext Terminal at the Port of Immingham in the north of England. The two cranes will be the first Liebherr RTGs to work at a British port. Capacity will be 40.6 tonnes under the telescopic spreader and the eight-wheel cranes will stack one over five containers high and span seven plus a truck lane. The RTGs will work next to two Liebherr quayside cranes; the first was delivered in 1987 and the second is being built at the manufacturer's Irish plant.

Also in the UK, the Port of Felixstowe has taken delivery of a ship-to-shore gantry (SSG) crane from Chinese manufacturer Zhenhua Port Machinery Company (ZPMC). The crane was shipped from China in a nine-week journey, for which it was specially braced to withstand bad weather and heavy seas. The shipment is part of an order for 10 rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) cranes and three SSGs, which follow the delivery of 10 RTGs and two SSGs by ZPMC in 2002.

The new crane will be one of the largest at the port, able to handle containers 22-wide, and have a lift capacity of 85 tonnes. Richard Pearson, managing director of Hutchison Ports (UK) Ltd said, “This injection of new equipment at the Port of Felixstowe will help secure the port's competitiveness well into the future.

“Together with the extension of Trinity Terminal, which is due to come on stream shortly, we will be better placed than ever to handle the future growth in essential import and export trade and to compete commercially against other European ports.”

In the US the New York Container Terminal has bought four super post-Panamax ship-to-shore cranes from Liebherr Container Cranes in Ireland. The cranes have 50 m outreach and lifting capacity is 65 tonnes under the expandable twinlift telescopic spreader. The span of both cranes is 30 m and backreach is 25 m. Height under spreader is 36 m.

Contributing to a 21 % rise in sales for 2004 compared to the previous year at LiebherrWerk Nenzing in Austria, was an order from the Londonderry Port & Harbour Commission in Northern Ireland for the 50th LHM 150. The 40 tonne capacity crane, which is in its eighth year of production, has a maximum outreach of 32 m and is designed to handle containers, general cargo, pallets or bulk material.

Londonderry chose an LHM 150 in four-rope version with a 12 m3 grab for coal, extra filters for the air intake to the engine room, and a modem for data transfer and remote diagnosis.

Dutch company Peinemann is one of several first-time LHM 150 buyers in 2005, having put one to work at its terminal in the Port of Rotterdam. Like Peinemann, Compagnie Fluviale de Transport Location (CFT) in Le Havre, France is a first-time buyer of an LHM 150. CFT opted for a two-rope version with a 40 tonne winch and included a modem for remote diagnosis.

Novograins bought the 49th LHM 150, its first, to use at the Port of Algiers in Algeria. The port operator selected a four-rope version with a 2 x 20 tonne winch configuration, and added a 12 m3 four-rope grab to handle various bulk cargoes.

In Iceland, logistics and transportation companyEimskip has ordered a new 100 tonne capacity HMK 300 from Gottwald for use at its terminal in the country's capital, Reykjavik. “The new HMK 300 E has replaced our HMK 260 E from Gottwald that ensured eight years of reliable every-day operation,” said Gudmundur Nikulasson, senior manager, terminal operations, at Eimskip. “Our company is committed to high quality services tailored to customers' requirements, and as container handling volumes continue to increase, we decided to boost significantly our productivity.”

Kristiansand Harbour in Norway ordered its second Gottwald as part of its strategy to expand its existing crane fleet. The new 100-tonne HMK 300 E joins the HMK 260 E, which has already been in Kristiansand Harbour for ten years. Svein-Inge Larsen, harbour engineer at Kristiansand Harbour, said, “Due to the excellent experience with our existing Gottwald crane, we decided to rely on Gottwald's technology again. The main arguments in favour of the new HMK 300 E were related to the diesel-electric concept, the external power supply and the teleservice.”

Polar Lift in Finland ordered its third HMK 300 E mobile harbour crane for its terminal in Tornio earlier this year. In addition to the three HMK 300 Es in Tornio, Polar Lift already operates two HMK 260 Es at its terminal in Kemi.

The rise in orders for the HMK 300 E has not gone unnoticed at Gottwald. Andreas Möller, deputy sales director for harbour cranes, said, “With 20 units sold as of 1 October 2004 and more than 70 units of the HMK 300 E sold to date worldwide, this universal 100 tonne crane, which is ideally suited to serve larger-sized, e.g., Panamax and post-Panamax vessels, has taken the market by storm.”

Investment in new cranes for ports and harbours is not restricted, however, to specialised dockside and container handling cranes. At Associated British Ports' (ABP) Port of Silloth, DA Harrison, the port's stevedore, has invested in a new 90 tonne capacity SCX900-2 Sumitomo crawler crane. The crane is handling grab and bag or bale cargoes and is expected to increase throughput. It has an elevated cab for better downward vision.

Richard Harrison, operations manager at DA Harrison, said, “Our close, long-standing partnership with ABP is very important for our business, and we are happy to strengthen our relationship with the purchase of this new crane. The investment will help us handle increased tonnages through the port and demonstrates our continuing commitment to our customers' needs.”

In 2004, Liebherr-Werk Nenzing entered the reachstaker market with its LRS 645, easily recognisible by its striking curved boom design. By the end of 2004 ten units were in operation. Four were ordered by Portroe Stevedores in Ireland and one was ordered by C Steinweg in Germany. Five others are on long-term rental contracts with ports in Benelux. Liebherr has set a target of 25 sales to new customers in 2005.

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